Review : BLON BL-03
Updated: Sep 3, 2020
In today's review, we look at the fabled BLON BL-03 earphones that now have a ton of hype for having very good sound for its price. Now let's see what I think about it!
Disclaimer : This unit was borrowed from my friend who purchased it as his own personal unit
BLON has garnered a lot of hype in recent months due to its BL-03 model. It has been rated very highly by many earphone reviewers for having incredible price to performance ratio. I have also only heard of this earphone this year and seeing the ton of positive reviews, I had to hear what the hype was all about.
Sound : Bass-focused with mids and highs being more laid back
Driver : 10mm Carbon Diaphragm dynamic driver
Socket : 2-pin (0.78mm)
Price : 39 USD
Where to buy it : Aliexpress
Decent sound for its price
Breaks down bass lines well
Good quality bass
Good build quality
Bass might be too much for some
Mids lacks the bite/attack
Isolation not the best
Suitable genres : Jazz or songs with interesting bass lines that you want to hear closely
WHAT'S IN THE BOX
Inside the box we get the following :
2 sets of eartips of different sizes (S, M, L)
1 x Earphone canvas pouch
1 x BLON BL-03 earphone
1 x 2 pin (0.78mm) earphone cable
1 x User manual
The accessories included are very standard stuff however, it is still a very complete set. I really appreciate it when companies include carrying cases/pouch because not everyone has one to safely transport their earphones around. So props to them for including this simple item and making the package complete.
The earphone does not look much but it's build quality is good. Its shell is made of metal and it weighs quite a bit, giving it a premium feel to it which I prefer. On my unit, the socket holds the pins very snugly and it definitely wouldn't drop off. The rubber sleeves protecting the 2 pins on the cable are rigid but also has some elasticity to it that allows you to press into it slightly.
I think the only problem that I have with the earphones are that it has a chrome finishing, which makes it very prone to scratches and fingerprints. Also, the seams on it are very obvious and though it isn't a deal-breaker, it does looks weird when looking at it for a period of time.
Overall, the earphone has a premium build and feel to it though the chrome finishing and seams deducts some points off the build quality. Also, several people have noted that there might be some variance between units in the sound quality (just thought that I should leave it here under this segment).
COMFORT AND ISOLATION
Due to the earphone having rounded edges, I find that it is quite comfortable in the ears at least for me. However, I believe that an earphone with such a weight might cause some fit issues for people with smaller ear canals as the earphone might fall out. To mitigate this, I think getting third party eartips such as the Azla Sedna earfit eartips might help.
Isolation on the other hand isn't the best, I still hear slight sounds from the outside while using it. As my left ear is slightly smaller than my right, I find that the seal on the left are alright while the sound leaks slightly on the right while using the largest eartips. Switching it over to my Azla Sedna earfit eartips seemed to have helped with the seal slightly but I still hear outside noises. While listening to music on it, I could still hear my Telegram notifications from my speakers.
One thing to note is that the thing most people had issue with the earphone was with its stock eartips, they aren't the best as it's too soft and unable to maintain a good seal.
When I first put on these earphones, the bass instantly stands out. It is a bass-centric earphone with a decreasing emphasis in mids and highs in this order. Mids seem to be a bit more forward as compared to the highs and female vocals on these lack the usual brightness that I would prefer. Mids also lack that impact that I like, for instance, the impact of a snare drum or chucking sounds of electric guitars in funk genres. Highs sound too distant and on some songs they decay away too quickly.
This review will be done on my Cayin N6ii (T01 Module) with the included cable and eartips.
Treble is airy and but I find that it decays too quickly. The quality of the highs are decent enough for its price but my gripe with it is that it does not have enough presence for certain genres of music to be enjoyable such as rock.
Listening to rock songs on it makes cymbal crashes and high hats sound very weak; they lack that energy that gets the listener excited for what's to come. Instead, they shine just enough for it to be noticed but that's about it. This is particularly obvious when listening to Frederic's "Kanashi Ureshi" where all the cymbals and high hats lack that sparkle and energy to it. However surprisingly, the electronic beat (around the last minute of the song) and shakers are pretty much present still.
Personally still, I do not enjoy the highs that much and wish that they had more presence though the quality of the highs are decent. Some earphones overdo the treble and it gets too sibilant. Hence, if you're sensitive to highs/treble, you definitely have no need to worry here!
My go-to genre to test out mids are usually vocals based songs and my usual rock songs. Vocals are definitely perform better than electric guitars and drums in this area.
Starting off with my usual rock/metal genres, electric guitars and drums lack that bite/attack to it as compared to the other earphones I have such as the Spring 1 and even the T2 Plus. Similarly to the highs, its presence is just enough for it to be heard, but just a bit more for it to be felt.
However, as this earphone has decent separation, one can still tell apart the sounds within the midrange with relative ease which makes the mids a bit more enjoyable. You can tell apart the lead and rhythm guitars and drums usually and that's great for me. Listening to "JET" by POLKADOT STINGRAY, I was able to discern the different instruments with relative ease, making the mids a bit more pleasant as I can focus on whichever I prefer.
Moving onto vocals, male vocals in general are pleasant, they sound rather natural. For female vocals I found that there's a slight difference in how they might sound if you are listening to a vocals that are higher pitched versus lower pitched. Diana Krall's "Cry Me a River" is really relaxing to listen to and I thoroughly enjoy it. The overall feel of the song here is great, vocals are natural sounding and the elevated bass adds to the overall ambiance of the song. However when listening to songs with higher pitched vocals such as LeAnn Rimes' "Blue", vocals sound too airy which makes it sound too holographic and slightly artificial. In POLKADOT STINGRAY's "JET", the vocals in this song sounds a bit too airy or nasally here, which makes it sound a bit off. Trying it against other earphones, I know that her voice is quite clear and doesn't sound like that.
During my initial phases of testing, I thought it would have been suitable for rap but I realized that the core of rap songs are mostly mids, as you would need the vocals to be fast and snappy while having the impact that provides the rhythm such as kick drums or electronic beats. Thus, I have removed rap as one of the suitable genres from my review.
Overall, the mids are more enjoyable than the highs as you can tell apart the different layers rather easily. Mids do lack that impact to it which makes it less suitable for funk and rock genres. Vocals on a whole are natural but take note that it might not be that great for higher-pitched vocals as it sounds more nasally.
This is the most enjoyable aspect of the earphone; bass on this is one of the best I've heard compared to other earphones in its price range. This is due in part to it utilizing a dynamic driver, giving the bass more texture and rumble. Bass has the majority of the presence in this unit but does not go too deep. It has just enough impact for it to be heard and felt but does not throw a ton of it in your face to overwhelm you.
I found the bass on this to work really well when you need to listen out for songs with complicated bass lines. Listening to "FREE" from POLKADOT STINGRAY, you can clearly hear the complicated bass lines, where the bassist plays all around the bass guitar and it is really enjoyable! I found myself revisiting songs which have interesting bass lines such as Frederic's "Tarinai eye" and even "LIPS" by THE ORAL CIGARETTES. It makes me really appreciate the bass lines on my music much more.
I tried this out with jazz songs too and found this to be very enjoyable too. Diana Krall's "Besame Mucho" and Michale Buble's "Call Me Irresponsible" were a real treat to listen to. Given the elevated bass, natural vocals and light treble, I found this to be a very good combination to provide a relaxing ambiance when listening to such songs. These jazz songs have a very light touch, making it really enjoyable!
Bass is really where this earphone shines as it is able to reproduce it with much detail and I doubt other earphones of the same price would come close to this kind of bass quality.
Soundstage on these earphones are fairly wide, giving the listener an "out of head" experience. The wideness of the sound is comparable to listening to music in a small hall.
Separation is done fairly well, regardless of slow or fast paced music. It does not struggle as much as compared to other single dynamic driver earphones that I have heard in the past.
I found nothing special in the imaging section, feel that it doesn't do very well in this. At most times, the sound just seems to come out as a whole instead of having a very good layering. I usually can't tell the distance between instruments or hear it to be in any particular direction, just the usual left and right channels at most. In Chon's "Can't Wait", high hats were in the top region of the space (inside and above my head) and one guitar was on the left and another on the right, but that's about it.
I think the Tin Hifi T2 Plus is also a close competitor to this unit and comparing the two, I personally prefer the T2 Plus as they have more emphasis on the highs which I prefer. Vocals are more natural on the T2 Plus and bass isn't that forward on the T2 Plus which makes the T2 Plus more comfortable for longer hours of listening. I get a slight ache in my ears listening on the BLON BL-03 but it may be also due to me being more sensitive to bass.
I can understand why this earphone garnered so much hype : Good bass with decent mids and highs at a budget price, most listeners listen out for an earphone with good bass too. Though the mids and highs are somewhat laid back and sound distant, I still find myself appreciating the bass of songs very much. This earphone would surely appeal to most bass heads out there and people who want to better appreciate bass lines. Given the right genre of songs such as jazz, I believe that this pair of earphones can be very enjoyable. I guess sometimes you just need to find the right genre for an earphone for it to shine. Thus, if you want an earphone that is easy on the wallet with good quality bass, give the BLON BL-03 a go!